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David Bodanis

Electric universe

The use of electricity pervades modern society. However, each electric device is the result of a great deal of research and in this book David Bodanis gives the stories of some of the most prominent of these discoveries. Thus we find out about the telegraph and telephone, radio and radar and the early development of transistors and computers. The final section relates to electricity in nerves and the brain. Bodanis does very well in weaving the discoveries in with the details of the lives of the people concerned, and so bringing the science of everyday devices to a non-technical readership.

One thing that rather irritated me though was the 'simplified' description of what happens on the scale of electrons, which I felt often made things more confusing, especially since most readers will be familiar with the workings of the devices concerned anyway. For instance radar is described as forcing electrons in the target to jostle around and thus transmitting a signal that can be detected. Why couldn't he just say that the radio beam is reflected? Also I didn't really think that the chapter on moods fitted in to the theme of the book. OK most things are related to electricity, but I felt Bodanis could have chosen something more directly relevant. info
Hardcover 320 pages  
ISBN: 0316861820
Salesrank: 1864843
Published: 2004 Time Warner Books Uk
Amazon price $43.03
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Hardcover 320 pages  
ISBN: 0316861820
Salesrank: 2226010
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2005 Little, Brown
Marketplace:New from £14.95:Used from £0.01
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ISBN: 0316861820
Salesrank: 2170292
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 1609 Little Brown & Co
Amazon price CDN$ 62.74
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 61.26:Used from CDN$ 2.65
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Product Description
For centuries, electricity was viewed as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Then, in the 1790s, Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited an explosion of knowledge and invention, transforming our world. The force that once seemed inconsequential was revealed to be responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. A superb storyteller, Bodanis weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration, and fraud through lucid accounts of scientific breakthrough. The great discoverers come to life in all their brilliance and idiosyncrasy, including the visionary Michael Faraday, who struggled against the prejudices of the British class system, and Alexander Graham Bell, driven to invent by his love for a young deaf student. From the cold waters of the Atlantic, to the streets of Hamburg during a World War II firestorm and the interior of the human body, Electric Universe is a mesmerizing journey of discovery by a master science writer.